The end of last night’s WWE Smackdown debut on Fox ended with a surprising sight as former UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez attacking current WWE Champion Brock Lesnar with punches. Lesnar defeated Kofi Kingston in about ten seconds to win the WWE Title. Lesnar retreated and left with his newly won title while WWE’s announcers Michael Cole and Corey Graves made a point to mention that Lesnar was retreating as the heel in the scenario.
According to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer, the Lesnar vs. Velasquez match is expected to take place at WWE Crown Jewel in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Thursday, October 31. It will air live all over the world on WWE Network. It’s also expected to be the main event. The match has not been announced by WWE yet.
It was noted by Meltzer that Velasquez was “offered a huge money deal for the match” and it’s unknown how long Velasquez is signed with WWE for. Meltzer added that the deal wasn’t a sure thing because Velasquez has also had talks with AEW and Tony Khan. That’s why we don’t know if this is a long term deal with WWE or if it’s just for one match right now.
The angle with Velasquez was set up on Monday’s Raw when Brock Lesnar beat up Rey Mysterio and his son Dominick, which felt random at the time, but it had a purpose. The idea is that Rey Mysterio is the most popular Mexican-American wrestler and Velasquez is also Mexican-American, so that’s the connection there.
Velasquez, who is 37 years old, has only had two professional wrestling matches for the AAA promotion and he worked in six-man tags. His performances were impressive. Velasquez also spent some time training in WWE’s Performance Center in July 2018.
Here’s an article on WWE.com about why Cain Velasquez is a game-changer.
More info from Marc Raimondi of ESPN.
Velasquez has not officially put pen to paper with WWE, but they’re getting there. Him showing up tonight on #SmackDown came together in the last 24 hours or so. The UFC was aware he’d be doing this appearance and gave the OK.
— Marc Raimondi (@marc_raimondi) October 5, 2019
The WWE shows in Saudi Arabia are huge money makers for the company. They get something like $30 to $40 million for each of the two shows they do there every year.
TJR Thoughts: This match is a risk because Velasquez is inexperienced and hasn’t even had a singles match as a pro wrestler yet. What he has going for him is that he’s got a history with Lesnar from when Velasquez beat Lesnar in a UFC cage in 2010. A lot of WWE fans may not care about that, though. It’s possible that the Saudi Arabian fans will love it. We’ll see on October 31.
The question I have is did they really need to put the WWE Title on Lesnar to do this match? I don’t think so. It could be a big match without the WWE Title involved.
Another thing about Crown Jewel is the Saudi Arabian shows have a bad rep for being “glorified house shows” as we like to call them and last year’s Crown Jewel event was awful. I won’t have high hopes this year either.